We know you read Not Your Average American for the straight facts. So here it is, we think it is too soon to travel to Ecuador, especially if you are going for tourism. Our recommendation is based on two reasons:
- As of August 15, tourists arriving in Ecuador will not be required to self-isolate for two weeks as long as they can present a negative result from a Covid-19 test. All incoming visitors to Ecuador are required to quarantine for 2 weeks. Unless you have a very permissive vacation schedule, this would be a waste of money.
- Travel within Ecuador is still complicated by a patchwork of rules and regulations that can change from province to province. While travel is possible, it’s not simple.
That said, we know that some of you are going to travel anyway. So here is what you should expect.
Before Traveling To Ecuador
Before traveling to Ecuador, we recommend adding your name to the US State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). That way, they know how to get a hold of you during a time of emergency. This could be an increased risk from Covid-19 but it also might be if there is a natural disaster. Also, depending on where you plan on traveling in Ecuador, you may want to add this contact information to your cellphone:
- Assistance: U.S. Embassy Quito, Ecuador +(593)(2) 398-5000 +(593)(2) 398-5000 (after hours) ACSQuito@state.gov
- U.S. Consulate General Guayaquil, Ecuador +(593)(4) 371-7000 +(593)(4) 371-7000 (after hours) ACSGuayaquil@state.gov
- State Department – Consular Affairs 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444 Ecuador Country Information
You might also want to read our article, Your Ecuador Pre-Trip To-Do List.
Flying to Ecuador
It is once again possible to fly to Ecuador. However, there are rules in place.
“All arriving passengers are required to have the results of a PCR (polymerise chain reaction) COVID test from within the last seven (7) days prior to arrival in Ecuador. If testing is not available in the departure country, arriving passengers need to sign a document promising they will undergo testing by Ecuadorian health authorities. Testing will be conducted immediately at the airport upon arrival or on subsequent days, as determined by the discretion of Ministry of Health personnel.” US Embassy, Ecuador webpage
If you do not have test results to present, plan on having cash to pay for a test at the International Airport. Although we do not have confirmation of the exact process, we know from experience that cash is king in Ecuador. Currently, prices for tests through the Airport Vendor, Medical VIP, are $28 for the rapid test, which we believe you will have to pass to leave the airport, and $90 for the PCR-RT version, which you will likely have to take to confirm the results of the rapid test. We gathered this information from the Quito airport’s Facebook page. It is written for Ecuadorians needing to travel in-country. A rapid test is required for travel between Quito and Guayaquil and will be required for entry to the Galapagos:
Si no cuenta con la prueba de #Covid_19, puede realizarla en #MedicalVip, ubicado en el Nivel 2 del Centro Comercial Quito Airport Center (frente a la terminal del #AeropuertoUIO).
Furthermore, this point deserves reiterating:
Once you’ve arrived, you will also be required to quarantine yourself in a government-approved hotel for 2 weeks. Those lists can be found below.
Arriving In Ecuador
Ecuador is taking airport security very seriously. Your time in the Quito International Airport will look very different from your time in any US Airport. Be prepared for the differences. Expect the same measures in Guayaquil.
- You are required to ALWAYS wear a mask.
- Your temperature will be taken before entering Immigration. If your temperature is high, you will be removed to a private room for a more in-depth physical.
- While in line at immigration (Migración), you are required to socially distance and use a mask.
- At the counter, you will be asked to remove your mask for identification and to present your health document, proof of your negative Covid-19 test mentioned above.
- There are social distance marks at baggage claim. Use them!
- Once you leave baggage claim, you will enter the main airport. Currently, no family or friends or previously arranged drivers can meet you inside the airport.
- You can make your way outside of the airport and cross the street to the new Quito Airport Center to arrange for transportation. We do not recommend flagging taxis from the taxi line.
From here, it is expected that you will self-quarantine. As a tourist, it is expected that you quarantine in your arrival city and not travel outside of it to stay elsewhere. Click on the links to download lists for Alojamiento Quito, Alojamiento Guayaquil, and Alojamiento Manta on this government page.
Flying Out of Ecuador
If you arrive in Ecuador for tourism, you will also eventually need to leave. Once again, this is a list of what to expect at the Quito International Airport. However, expect the same measures in Guayaquil.
- Only passengers can enter the Quito International Airport.
- You will be required to wear a mask at all times.
- If you need to wait a lengthy time before your flight with or without friends, there is space at the Quito Welcome Center, across the street from the main airport.
- At the door, your travel documents will be checked, you will be asked to sanitize your hands, and your temperature will be taken.
- You should have auto-checked in before arrival. If not, kiosks for auto-check in are available.
- While in all lines at all counters, socially distance using the marked spaces.
- Drop of your luggage at your airline’s counter.
- At security, expect to show your documents but not hand them to the inspector.
- Stores and restaurants are open.
- Half of the seats in the waiting area have been blocked off to enforce social distancing.
- Board the plane at the instructions of your airline.
Current Coronavirus in Ecuador
For up-to-date information on Covid-19 in Ecuador, we highly recommend these Spanish language websites:
Current Coronavirus cases and deaths: https://www.salud.gob.ec/actualizacion-de-casos-de-coronavirus-en-ecuador/
Basic Instructions on Protecting Yourself and Others from the Coronavirus: https://www.salud.gob.ec/medidas-de-proteccion-basicas-contra-el-nuevo-coronavirus/
Twitter Feed for Riesgos Ecuador: https://twitter.com/Riesgos_Ec
If You Are Experiencing Coronavirus Symptoms in Ecuador
If you are experiencing Coronavirus symptoms like fever, cough, or chest pain, please contact the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health. Your first step should be to dial 171. You will be triaged over the phone and told where to go for a Covid-19 test. Please be prepared to speak in Spanish. Here is a short primer to help you with a few key words:
|I am congested||Estoy congestionado (a)|
|My throat hurts||Me duele la garganta|
|I have a light cough||Tengo una tos leve|
|I have a bad cough||Tengo una tos fuerte|
|My chest hurts||Me duele el pecho|
|My lungs hurt||Me duelen los pulmones|
|I have a low fever||Tengo fiebre baja|
|I have a high fever||Tengo fiebre alta|
|I need help getting to the hospital||Necesito ayuda para llegar al hospital|